Showing posts with label Department of Defense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Department of Defense. Show all posts

Saturday, September 5, 2015

DOD Sec. Says Gitmo Terrorists Need Indefinite Lockup as Obama Tries Closing Prison

While President Obama works to deliver on his longtime promise to close the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba his Defense Secretary offers a jolt of reality; around half of the detainees—the world’s most dangerous terrorists—need to be locked up “indefinitely.”

So what are the commander-in-chief’s plans for the radical Islamic jihadists currently incarcerated in the top-security compound at the U.S. Naval base in southeast Cuba? The all-star terrorist roster includes 9/11 masterminds Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi as well as Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the Al-Qaeda terrorist charged with orchestrating the 2000 attack on the Navy destroyer USS Cole. Where will the U.S. government take these terrorists if the president goes through with his plan, which started out as a campaign promise to restore America’s position as a global leader on human rights.

In all the years that Obama has talked of closing the Gitmo prison, he has never touched on what would happen to the terrorists held there. The president has tried emptying out the compound by releasing dozens of prisoners—many of them have rejoined terrorist causes—to foreign countries, but at least half of the remaining 116 are too dangerous to free. 

Obama’s own Defense Secretary, Ashton Carter, confirmed that recently, saying that “some of the people who are there at Guantanamo Bay have to be detained indefinitely, they’ve just got to be locked up.” This evidently applies to many of those who have been released over the years. For instance, an al Qaeda operative (Saudi Ibrahim al-Rubaysh) released from Gitmo appears on the U.S. government’s global terrorist list and Uncle Sam is offering a $5 million reward for information on his whereabouts.

The administration has considered relocating the captives to military facilities in the U.S., including Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas and the Navy Brig in Charleston, South Carolina. This has ignited outrage among officials in both states. Kansas Senator Pat Roberts was quick to say “not on my watch will any terrorists be placed in Kansas.” Roberts also co-authored a mainstream newspaper op-ed with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott vehemently rejecting the idea. “The notion that Kansas, South Carolina or any other state would be an ideal home for terrorist detainees is preposterous,” the piece reads. “Transferring these prisoners to the mainland puts the well-being of states in danger, posing security risks to the public and wasting taxpayer dollars. The detention facilities at Guantanamo are doing a fantastic job of holding these terrorists.”

The governors of both states—Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Sam Brownback of Kansas—have also vowed to take any action in their power to stop the transfers, including suing the federal government. A South Carolina newspaper editorial points out that the state is already taking a hit for the team by serving as the “de facto permanent home” to high-level nuclear waste associated with the nation’s weapons programs. “Fearing South Carolina is again about to become the home that no other state wants to be has leaders rightly standing up against federal plans to transfer terrorist detainees from the U.S. prison facility at Guantanamo Bay near Cuba to military prisons in South Carolina and Kansas,” the editorial states. “This goes beyond the states’ collective call of duty as there is no agreement on a plan for what to do with the detainees in the long term.”

Judicial Watch has covered Guantanamo extensively and has repeatedly traveled there to monitor the U.S. military commission proceedings against the world’s most dangerous terrorists. JW has witnessed a deep commitment to justice by military and civilian lawyers defending the captives and has reported on many of the perks that the incarcerated terrorists receive from American taxpayers. For instance, they get laptops and computer lessons, “Islamically permissible” halal meals and better medical care than U.S. veterans. Last year the Obama administration let Gitmo inmates operate a “Business School Behind Bars” with an accused Al Qaeda financier as the self-appointed “dean of students.” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was also permitted to dispatch propaganda from his Guantanamo jail cell (undoubtedly aiding and abetting more terrorism) and a fighter in Osama bin Laden’s 55th Arab Brigade was allowed to published a sob letter in an international media outlet describing the “humiliating and brutal treatments” he suffers at the U.S. military prison.

Monday, August 17, 2015

U.S. Foreign Policy Is Overdue For Some Realism

U.S. Foreign Policy Is Overdue For Some Realism | RealClearDefense
According to a news report, Department of Defense officials admitted the United States might not be prepared to fight a sustained military conflict with Russia.  This is not the first time in recent weeks Pentagon officials have raised flags about the Russia threat and the U.S. lack of preparedness to deal with it.
Last month incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford told Senators that Russia posed the greatest threat to the United States. Not mincing words he said, “If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia…If you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming.”
General Paul Selva, slated to be the Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reinforced General Dunford’s analysis during his own confirmation hearing.
For some, the most obvious lesson here is to come up with a plan to deter Russia and make up for the readiness gaps, although these things take years and a big bump in resources to do.
But there’s a deeper, more critical lesson policymakers and voters should not miss, because the United States isn’t flat-footed only when it comes to a potential conflict with Russia. China is also challenging the United States in key areas like cybersecurity and in missile development.
Here’s the problem: since the end of the Cold War the idea of war with modern countries with highly sophisticated militaries with nuclear weapons has seemed so unlikely, if not impossible, that U.S. leaders simply haven’t given it as much thought or devoted the necessary resources to keep elements of the military force, especially the nuclear deterrent, fully modernized.
And, since the Al Qaeda attack on September 11th, 2001, most defense planning and resourcing has gone towards combatting Islamist radicals in the Middle East at the expense of defense planning for war with state actors.
President Obama’s mocking of Governor Romney’s assessment that Russia is the preeminent geopolitical foe is a well-known example. Another one was back in 2009, when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made waves with Senators from both parties when he said Russia and China had the ability to pose mortal threats to the United States.
Why has the mere mention of a threat from Russia or China received such blowback? A big cause is the pervasive belief that modern countries have simply “evolved,” beyond those blood-thirsty eras of the past. But, although technical advancements and cultural shifts make modern countries look quite different than they once did, the nature of international relations evolves no more than the nature of human beings evolves. Some things don’t and won’t ever change. Because human nature doesn’t change, the root causes of war don’t either.
Thucydides, in studying the causes of wars, observed that people are motivated to go to war for a variety of reasons, including “honor, fear, and interest.”
As long as people remain self-interested, it is always possible they will threaten war.
This is the heart of realism. The past 6 years have shown what happens when national leaders formulate security policy based on an idealistic view of people, countries, and international relations.
When Russia invaded Ukraine, Secretary Kerry remarked, “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text,” as though Secretary Kerry really believes that the 21st century ushered in a new era in which land-grabs are simply inconceivable. If Russia believes the net result of annexing Crimea is a boost in national pride, an increase in power, and instills fear in the NATO alliance of which Russia has stated is its number one foe, why wouldn’t it?
Recall another head-scratcher, this one by President Obama in his first U.N. address. He said, “No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation.”  They can’t? It sure is a pleasant thought—and a quick glance at the global state of affairs shows it has absolutely no basis in reality, and anyone who holds this view should be denied the responsibility of safeguarding the American people.  
Now during the nuclear age the stakes have never been higher. American policymakers and strategists must hold a realistic view of people and nations, and return to thinking seriously about deterrence.
In 2009 President Obama laid out his “Prague Agenda” that called for steps that would bring the world down a path to zero nuclear weapons. He proclaimed, “Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century.”
The Prague Agenda is rooted in idealism. It is rooted in the false premises that countries (and therefore, people) are basically good and deserving of equal treatment, and that arms control, not war or the fear of war, keeps nations in place. One can look to the Prague Agenda for what is behind many of the Obama administration’s foreign policy blunders.
For instance, it is what is behind the Iran Deal. In the President’s Prague Speech he said that Iran, seemingly just by way of existing, has a “rightful place in the community of nations, politically and economically.” All evidence suggests the entire Iran Deal rests on the belief that despite Iran’s Islamist inclinations and clear objective to become the preeminent power in the Middle East, it will become a beacon of pluralism and human flourishing once flushed with cash and forgiven for its past (and current and ongoing) transgressions.
The Prague Agenda is also what is behind the New START Treaty with Russia, which will further reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Indeed, since the Cold War, the U.S. has cut the arsenal, ceased to test it, and failed to adequately modernize it. In his speech President Obama said the United States would seek to further “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy” and persuade others to do the same-- despite it being in their interest to do the opposite.
This brings us to our modern dilemma that Pentagon leaders are now trying to grapple with. Russia has invaded a sovereign nation, shown blatant disregard for agreements and treaties, moved nuclear weapons front and center in its military strategy, and has even threatened to employ nuclear weapons.
China is also becoming more aggressively expansionist and is in the midst of undergoing its own nuclear and missile modernization program.
Despite the steps President Obama and his Administration took to implement the Prague Agenda, by the time his term expires, there will be more for idealists to do should another idealist enter the White House.
Another idealist might continue to elevate arms control above resourcing the military, might seek to further cut the U.S. nuclear deterrent, continue to delay the promised modernization of all three legs of the nuclear triad, seek to ratify the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, and continue to prohibit the United States from even the possibility of developing new nuclear weapons necessary for maintaining a credible force.
Meanwhile, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea--- regimes with values very different with those of the United States---will be motivated by “honor, fear, and interest” just as rulers have since the beginning of time. They will pursue military capabilities and strategies that will directly conflict with those of the United States.
What the United States needs in power are realists who understand that given human nature war is always possible and we better earnestly seek to deter the most dangerous kind and prepare to win should deterrence fail.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Next Shoe To Drop: Obamacare Will Increase The Cost Of Employer-Sponsored Insurance

Yesterday, the Obama Administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a six-page report predicting that Obamacare could cause premiums to increase for nearly two-thirds of small- to medium-sized businesses. “This results in roughly 11 million individuals whose premiums are estimated to be higher as a result of the ACA and about 6 million individuals who are estimated to have lower premiums,” CMS writes. But CMS’ projections almost certainly understate the problem, one that will begin to affect millions of workers in the second half of 2014.
CMS: 11 million will see increased premiums
The CMS premium report was a requirement imposed by Congress on the administration under the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011. That law mandated that CMS “provide an estimate of the number individuals and families who will experience a premium increase and the number who will see a decrease” as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
But CMS only looked at one cost-increasing Obamacare provision:community rating. And they only looked at it for individuals employed by businesses with less than 100 employees: what’s called the “small group market.”
Here’s the background. Under Obamacare, all regulated insurance plans are required to charge people the same premium, regardless of health status. Insurers can charge different rates based on age (but only within a narrow range); tobacco use (smokers can be charged 50 percent more than non-smokers); geographic area (insurers can charge people different rates based on regional demographic variation); and whether the plan is for a single individual or a family.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Reid On Military Death Benefits: "It's Clear The Action On This Legislation Is Just For Show"

SEN. HARRY REID: The senior senator from Texas has been always very courteous to me. Yesterday was no exception, in withholding his unanimous consent request when we discussed this issue. It was about 2:00 in the afternoon, as he indicated. And I indicated I thought if we waited until 3:30, we would have this matter resolved. That’s what I had been told. And, in fact, it was a little after 3:00 yesterday afternoon, Secretary Hagel issued a statement announcing the Department of Defense had entered into an agreement, as my friend said, with the -- with the organization that my friend mentioned. And that would provide the family of fallen service members -- over the weekend, the senator from Texas is right, we had four soldiers killed, one of whom was a woman. Four men and one woman. 

And the agreement that the senator -- that Senator Hagel came up with would give everyone to provide family members who are in the military the full set of benefits they've been promised, including the $100,000 death benefit gratuity. So the death benefit issue has been resolved. The Department of Defense stepped forward and took care of everything. And so this issue is largely moot. It’s clear the action on this legislation is now just for show here. We all agreed that it was a bad thing that the government shutdown led to this added grief for the families who had suffered such a terrible loss. Now we need to do what we can to prevent any further bad results -- and there have been plenty of them -- in other areas. The right thing to do is to prevent more of these in other areas, and the House should just vote and open the government. The issues have been taken care of and it's terrible that we even got to this point.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Defense Department guide calls Founding Fathers ‘extremist’

A Department of Defense teaching guide meant to fight extremism advises students that rather than “dressing in sheets” modern-day radicals “will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place,” and describes 18th-century American patriots seeking freedom from the British as belonging to “extremist ideologies.”
The guide comes from documents obtained by Judicial Watch and is authored by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, a DoD-funded diversity training center.
Under a section titled “extremist ideologies,” the document states, “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.”
Besides a brief reference to 9/11 and another to the Sudanese civil war, the guide makes no mention of Islamic extremism.
The guide also repeatedly tells readers to use the Southern Poverty Law Center as a resource in identifying “hate groups.” The SPLC has previously come under fire for its leftist bias and tendency to identify conservative organizations such as the American Family Association as “hate groups.”
In August 2012, an attempted terrorist attack occurred at the Family Research Council, another conservative organization the SPLC has branded a “hate group.” FRC president Tony Perkins said the SPLC’s designation prompted the attack, stating the gunman “was given a license to shoot … by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
In a statement, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton slammed the Department of Defense documents for what he described as their bias against conservatives.
“The Obama administration has a nasty habit of equating basic conservative values with terrorism. And now, in a document full of claptrap, its Defense Department suggests that the Founding Fathers, and many conservative Americans, would not be welcome in today’s military,” said Fitton. ”And it is striking that some the language in this new document echoes the IRS targeting language of conservative and Tea Party investigations. After reviewing this document, one can’t help but worry for the future and morale of our nation’s armed forces.”
Via: Daily Caller

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